Yesterday on Slate, Ron Rosenbaum accused Jeff Jarvis about gloating over the demise of print (and several other things). Today, Jeff responds.
The only weighty part of the Jeff-Ron exchange is the question of who is responsible for the death of print. We continue to think it is 1) creative destruction (i.e., the market), and, 2) print business managers who had their heads in the sand. We don’t begrudge journalists from taking fat paychecks from the New York Times for writing newspaper articles, as long as they last. We get the impression that Jeff does blame them for this, so we’d love hear more from him on that. (Ron doesn’t address the issue.)
In any event, here’s the opening of Jeff’s response:
I am the honoree of an attempted hatchet job by Ron Rosenbaum in – what’s the name of that site? Salon? no, Slate (I always get them confused). I’ll spare you his three pages of bluster (O, for the days of scarce space on paper) and get to his point: He’s mad because I’m not acting sufficiently mournful and respectful at the demise of his friends’ journalistic careers (and perhaps his own). I’m “increasingly heartless” about these “beautiful losers.”
Sadly, Rosenbaum doesn’t debate the idea and history and fate of journalism, which might be productive or at least provocative. Instead, like a pissy third grader, he attacks me. Because of my opinion, he says he doesn’t “like” me anymore. Take that, Jarvis! You can’t sit at my lunch table ever again! He reminds me of that same third grader who, when he doesn’t study for a test and sees the results of his inattention, whines, cries, and stomps his little feet, declaring, “It’s not fair.” No, kid, life ain’t.
What I’m really doing is holding journalists responsible for the fate of journalism. How dare I? Rosenbaum says, “Not only does he blame the victims, he denies them the right to consider themselves victims.” As if victimhood gets us anywhere.
For the record, here is the nut of what I said in a blog post and Guardian column that inspired this attack. I was responding to efforts to absolve journalists of responsibility for the fall of journalism and its vessels by Paul Farhi, Roy Greenslade, and Adrian Monck:
My purpose in rebutting Farhi, Greenslade and Monck is not to flagellate journalists but to empower them. To take responsibility for the fall of journalism is to take responsibility for its fate. Who’ll try to save it if not journalists? There’s not a minute to waste whining.
But sadly, Rosenbaum doesn’t discuss that. He whines and prefers to mock me for going to conferences, advising news companies, and teaching journalists (helping to train more of them, not end up with fewer of them). I’m not sure what he’d rather have me do: Sit in my room and mope, sitting shiva for the past? Refuse to discuss the future of journalism? Tell newspapers when they call asking for brainstorming to fuck off and die? Would that be in solidarity with my hack brethren who did too little to transform journalism in the last 13 years of the web?
Just this morning I attended – busted! – another conference where I talked over coffee and croissant with chief executives of four newspaper companies as they brainstormed new models for news. I ran a conference at CUNY last week in new business models for news. I am starting an organisation at CUNY to find, explore, and share best practices in new business models for news. I teach a course in entrepreneurial journalism in hopes supporting small sparks of innovation. Full disclosure: I also advise or invest in a number of related startups including Daylife, Publish2, 33Across, Black20, Brightcove, Outside.in (and haven’t made a penny on any et). I hope the profession – or someone – finds ways to save journalism.
See Also: Slate Rips Jeff Jarvis a New One
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